Iowa Republican Says His E-Verify Bill Can’t Gain Traction at Statehouse

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Immigration officials say Cristhian Rivera was in the country illegally when he allegedly killed Mollie Tibbetts. According to ICE officials the department has never had an investigation at Yarrabee farms where Rivera was employed.

According to Yarrabee Farms, Rivera was using a false name and had passed a check with the Social Security Administration's Employment Verification Service. However, that is not the same thing as E-Verify, a voluntary, but more stringent service. State Senator Julian Garrett (R) from Indianola says it should be mandatory to use E-Verify and has proposed a bill which would do just that. However, he says until that bill is passed there is incentive for businesses to not use it in the name of competition.

“Most businesses are fine, as long as everyone is playing by the rules. If you've got to compete with somebody that's not playing by the rules, that's able to lower their cost of business by cutting corners and hiring people who are in the country illegally and so on, that puts you in a real bind” said Sen. Garrett.

The E-Verify system is not bulletproof, but Garrett says in his experience, simply announcing a business uses it serves as a deterrent.

“What they say is if they use E-Verify and that's known, and they're supposed to let that be known, people here illegally don’t even apply. They know that they won't be hired and so the problem kind of take care itself.” says Garrett.

On the federal side, Senator Charles Grassley says he needs more information about how Rivera was able to get into the country and avoid detection before making recommendations on changes to the immigration system. Grassley says changes under consideration could include infrastructure, staffing, and alteration to laws and enforcement procedures.